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There are the favoured groups that receive kid-glove treatment, there are the career choices that are praised for taking women into unchartered territory, and there is reality. Recently, all three collided to the detriment of female mixed-martial arts competitor Tamikka Brents: In a post-fight interview this week, she told Whoa TV that "I've never felt so overpowered ever in my life." “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because [he] was born a man or not, because I’m not a doctor,” she stated. “I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life, and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right. ” His “grip was different,” she added. “I could usually move around in the clinch against...females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch.” Ms. Brents had the trauma of fighting Fallon Fox and didn't last three minutes. Fox who was transgendered in 2006 now pretends to be a woman. But he's not, and now the league is wondering how to proceed when anyone can say "I'm a woman, and I want... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at feminine-genius
Family meals are essential! Discussion on Relevant Radio here. The Slate article I reference is "Let's Stop Idealising the Home-Cooked Meal", which has some decent points: The researchers interviewed 150 mothers from all walks of life and spent 250 hours observing 12 families in-depth, and they found “that time pressures, tradeoffs to save money, and the burden of pleasing others make it difficult for mothers to enact the idealized vision of home-cooked meals advocated by foodies and public health officials.” The mothers they interviewed had largely internalized the social message that “home-cooked meals have become the hallmark of good mothering, stable families, and the ideal of the healthy, productive citizen,” but found that as much as they wanted to achieve that ideal, they didn't have the time or money to get there. Low-income mothers often have erratic work schedules, making it impossible to have set meal times. Even for middle-class working mothers who are able to be home by 6 p.m., trying to cook a meal while children are demanding attention and other chores need doing becomes overwhelming. Beyond just the time and money constraints, women find that their very own families present a major obstacle to their desire to... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at feminine-genius
The bulk of the details are here, and an excellent 10-minute video is here, which outlines the insanity that prevails in refusing to connect the religious/cultural view of the perpetrators with their behaviour. There must be a honest, vigourous debate about immigration policy, legal implications, and social service priorities. But that said, we cannot ignore the question of why there are thousands of vulnerable girls subject to abuse. The answer lies in the disintegration of the family, the widespread addiction to drugs and alchohol, and the sexual climate which turns a blind eye to promiscuity in our young. Consider: girls are gone for hours, even days without concern by parents or caregivers; girls are plied with alcohol and return home raped -- with no one to notice; girls think nothing of drinking and promiscuity from the outset, before being abused; police see sexual activity of very young girls as a cultural norm; police are overwhelmed with homeless, vagrant children; social service agencies, likewise, are overwhelmed with vagrancy and degraded clients. Of course, there is the fear of being labeled "racist," which complicates things, and the bar of lowered expectations among the non-Muslim population ("One young person told the inquiry that... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2014 at feminine-genius
Last year, I enjoyed a lovely, rambling conversation with Pat Gohn on the topic of forgiveness. She has just released it this week, and it's available here. God's timing is always perfect, so perhaps now is when He would have you consider this important subject. As my book indicates, walking through the flames, doing the challenging work of healing through forgiveness is well worth it, for only then are you really Set Free! Continue reading
Posted Aug 28, 2014 at feminine-genius
In the accelerating tumble down the ideological hill that happens when ignoring natural law, we find the following phenomenon: An all women’s college in California is admitting male students, as long as they self-identify as female. Mills College, located in the San Francisco Bay Area, approved a new policy that lets applicants who self-identify as women enroll, making it the first single-sex college to let applicants specifically pick their gender. The new policy takes effect this fall, but the existing student body finds this loophole: The application policy prohibits students who were born as females and have undergone surgery to become a male from admission. However, female students who become male while enrolled at the college may continue on to graduate. Students who are gender-neutral must have legally been born as a female in order to gain acceptance into Mills. This only affects the 3-5 students annually who attempt to live as transgendered persons, but the principle is telling: nature is irrelevant, feelings rule. While the gender-identity continuum is considered fluid and self-driven, I would suppose that the students in question (men identifying as women) would have to maintain that identity for the duration of their college career, limiting the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 22, 2014 at feminine-genius
I am almost finished a wonderful book, Sister Queens, by Julia Fox, concerning two of the daughters of Ferdinand and Isabella (of Aragon and Castile, respectively). Queen Katherine, of course, was the first wife of Henry VIII, and Queen Juana was the wife of Philip, son of Maximilian, Holy Roman Emperor (later dubbed "Juana the Mad"). We are quite familiar with the story of Henry -- who put away Katherine out of dynastic concerns, but this is the first account I've found that follows her life entirely -- from childhood, through putative marriage to Arthur, widow, negotiator, remarriage, and as a loyal daughter of Spain. Also, it gives a compelling account of Juana -- explaining how she was manipulated by the men around her (husband and father) to be accounted mad for their own ends. I will give a full review of it when finished, but in the waning days of summer, you may want to pick it up and see history from an entirely different angle. Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at feminine-genius
Will be on Relevant Radio in the morning (Monday) at 8:30am EST. Will provide link when it's posted. The link is here (second half of the hour). If you want me to come and speak to your women's group, details here. We really must spread the Church's wonderful news about femininity! Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at feminine-genius
Rachel Lloyd is a British journalist who has ridden the well-known roller-coaster concerning children: Two years ago, when I turned 40, I felt a surge of relief. My exhausting thirties were over. That agonising decade with the relentless tick of the biological clock ... was finally behind me. At 35, if you are single and childless, there is an assumption that, while you may have been wasting time thus far, you might still manage to find a husband and have a baby. But at 40, the fertility window closes in and if the clock hasn't quite struck midnight, it's likely to be very nearly there. At 40, I was finally able to acknowledge that I wasn’t ever going to be a mother. I cried, I laughed, I talked it through with friends. The life script I’d always taken for granted – that I’d have a family (along with a semi-detached house and large dog) was no longer relevant – through circumstance, rather than choice. Once I’d begun to make peace with this idea, I felt I could start moving forwards. And I discovered I was far from alone. There were plenty of us so-called ‘NoMos’ (Not Mothers) out there. So... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2014 at feminine-genius
A report from UNICEF was released today, entitled "Ending Child Marriage: Progress and Prospects," revealing that 700 million marriages worldwide involved girls under the age of 18, and of those, about 250 million of the girls were under 15. (Comparably, about 2% of boys were married under the age of 15, meaning that many these girls are married to considerably older men.) One-third of the married girls are from India, roughly half are from South Asia, and the bulk of the rest are in Africa. In proportion to their own populations, the ten most culpable countries are: Niger (77%) Bengladesh (74%) Chad (69%) Mali (61%) CAR (60%) India (58%) Guinea (58%) Ethiopia (58%) Burkhina Faso (52%) Nepal (52%) Contributing factors include culture, poverty, dowry laws, and lack of access to education or economic independence. The report studiously avoids explaining what the foundations of these "cultures" might be, since there's no reference to religious traditions, which are usually powerful indicators. The report summarises: Girls who marry are not only denied their childhood. They are often socially isolated -- cut off from family and friends and other sources of support -- with limited opportunities for education and employment. Households typically make decisions... Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2014 at feminine-genius
I had a nice chat on Relevant Radio this morning, concerning something women can keep in mind while spending time with family and friends. The interview is here [second half of hour]. Pertinent column was recently published here. When schedules change and families spend more time together, we are given an opportunity to have important conversations with those we love. Whether during slower days at home, get-togethers at vacation spots, or traveling to visit distant relations, discussions often turn to shared events of the past--which can be the occasion of laughter, bittersweet recollections, or dredging up old conflicts, with all their baggage. When families gather together and reminisce, one is often shocked by how others remember particular persons and events. We carry with us an eclectic composite of memories that have shaped us over the years, and that have colored our opinions about how the world works, but occasionally two persons will remember an occasion or encounter so differently that they have trouble recognizing the shared experience [continue reading]. Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2014 at feminine-genius
Dom Kirby, prior of Silverstream Priory in County Meath, Ireland has a wonderful meditation on the fall of Judas, which he explains was a gradual process. There were aids along the way that could have helped him with his frustrations and misunderstandings about Christ's mission. Surely he could have talked to Our Lord himself, or to Peter or John. But his opportunity to talk to Mary remains for all of us. Consider her availability then and now: Judas had another recourse, but he was too proud to make use of it. He could have gone to Mary, the Mother of Jesus. Even before the words of Our Lord to Saint John from the Cross, “Behold, thy mother” (Jn 19:27), Mary was a true mother to each of the Apostles. She knew them as any mother knows her children, and she loved them, even with their weaknesses and repeated failures to believe in her Son, to hope in Him, and to love Him. Any one of the twelve could have gone to Mary at any time for counsel, for comfort, for encouragement, and for a mother’s blessing. She loved each of them because her Son loved them, and chose them, and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2014 at feminine-genius
Pope Benedict is 87 years old today. While his birthday this year does fall in Holy Week, in 1927 -- the year of his birth -- April 16th was actually Holy Saturday itself. As he writes in his autobiography, Milestones: The fact that my day of birth was the last day of Holy Week and the eve of Easter has always been noted in our family history. This was connected with the fact that I was baptized immediately on the morning of the day I was born with the water that had just been blessed. (At that time the solemn Easter Vigil was celebrated on the morning of Holy Saturday.) To be the first person baptized with the new water was seen as a significant act of Providence. I have always been filled with thanksgiving for having had my life immersed in this way in the Easter mystery, since this could only be a sign of blessing. To be sure, it was not Easter Sunday but Holy Saturday, but, the more I reflect on it, the more this seems to be fitting for the nature of our human life: we are still awaiting Easter; we are not yet standing in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 16, 2014 at feminine-genius
"We're all guilty" seems to the philosophy of Brandeis, the Boston University which has uninvited Ayaan Hirsi Ali from receiving an honourary doctorate at their commencement exercises this spring. The school noted: She is a compelling public figure and advocate for women’s rights, and we respect and appreciate her work to protect and defend the rights of women and girls throughout the world. That said, we cannot overlook certain of her past statements that are inconsistent with Brandeis University's core values. For all concerned, we regret that we were not aware of these statements earlier. Since they don't name the statements, we must conclude that they concern her dislike of Islam, for the following reasons: Ms Ali was raised as a Muslim; She was mutilated as a child according to the dictates of that religion; She was forcibly married to a man she didn't know (as I recall from her biography, she wasn't even at the wedding ceremony, because marriage-by-proxy was another acceptable custom; She was disillusioned by her faith, which considered women to be 2nd class persons; She spoke up about her concerns and has had death threats from Muslims ever since. None of these things are disputed; the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 10, 2014 at feminine-genius
When feminists consider the plight of women, they seem to fixate on tearing down male "privilege" (where they notice it) and providing contraceptives to coeds, rather than highlighting the real problems that women of the world face. Consider the battered in Bangledesh: About 87 percent of married women in Bangladesh have been victims of various forms of domestic violence in their lifetime, according to a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)-sponsored survey conducted by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, released this January. Of 12,600 women surveyed, 65 percent said they were physically tortured by their husbands, 36 percent were victims of sexual violence, 82 percent faced psychological abuse and 53 percent were victims of mental anguish. Only half the victims received treatment, while one third said they didn’t seek treatment for their injuries over fears of a backlash from their husbands. In Muslim-majority Bangladesh, the conservative patriarchal attitude of society is blamed for sexual violence within marriage. The use of the phrase "conservative patriarachal attitude" is interesting, because many go to its heart to name the culprit: men. Indeed, the attitudes of Bangladeshi men are deeply troubling: A WHO survey of 2,400 Bangladeshi men found that 89 percent of rural men... Continue reading
Posted Apr 5, 2014 at feminine-genius
Since healthy societies are inclined to share love and life, it would only stand to reason that the easiest way to change their culture is to simply lie about your intentions. UNICEF has been accused of doing that in the past, and may have another lie in the making: The Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops is demanding answers about a national tetanus vaccine campaign that they say is suspiciously like campaigns run in other countries where a birth control agent was covertly mixed in. Run by the World Health Organization and UNICEF, the Kenya campaign exclusively targets Kenyan women of childbearing age (14-49), and excludes boys and men and younger girls who are also at risk from tetanus infection. The bishops’ statement notes that in the Philippines, Nicaragua, and Mexico, the tetanus vaccine was “laced with Beta human chorionic gonadotropin (b-HCG) sub unit … to vaccinate women against future pregnancy.” When injected as a vaccine to a non-pregnant woman, this Beta HCG sub unit combined with tetanus toxoid develops antibodies against tetanus and HCG so that if a woman's egg becomes fertilized, her own natural HCG will be destroyed rendering her permanently infertile, the bishops explain. In this situation tetanus... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at feminine-genius
David Limbaugh offers a wonderful summary of a talk given by two women who were imprisoned for their faith. I remember when they were first arrested, and wrote about it here. It seems that since their ordeal, they have written and spoken widely about how they were transformed by the suffering. The first week, they were horrified and prayed to be released. But soon, they came to see their presence in prison as an opportunity to witness to other prisoners, many of whom were prostitutes and addicts and “so hopeless and sad.” Maryam and Marziyeh prayed for them and saw God work in their lives as they cried and confessed their sins. It became “like a church for us,” said Marziyeh. Maryam said there was only one day out of the 259 during which she couldn’t feel the presence of God. “That was the worst experience I ever had in my life,” she said. “I was so sad. I didn’t know what to do.” They ministered to the other women, grew close to them, and took them to their hearts -- so much so that it became a new home for them. I find it moving that they were ambivalent... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at feminine-genius
On Friday, 28 March, an Egyptian woman named Mary was viciously attacked simply for being Christian. She was dragged from the car that her persecutors had just crushed, then was kicked, beaten, had her hair ripped from her scalp, and then stabbed in the back. Their final savage acts after killing her were to slit her throat and strip her corpse naked before the crowd. Just last week. Unusual? Not according to locals, according to Raymond Ibrahim: Added the eyewitness: “Let me tell you, here in Ain Shams, we [Christians] know that every Friday is a day of death; that the day after Friday, Saturday, we’ll be carried to the morgue!” In fact, the overwhelming majority of attacks on Egypt’s Christians occur on Friday—the day when pious Muslims meet in mosque for prayers and to hear sermons. The significance of this fact can only be understood by analogy: what if Christians were especially violent to non-Christian minorities on Sunday—right after they got out of church? What would that say about what goes on in Christian churches? What does it say about what goes on in Muslim mosques? Prayers for her soul -- although this act of persecution has surely created... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2014 at feminine-genius
In honour of the Annunciation, I am linking to this piece related to Mary's response to Gabriel, and what it meant: I confess I was always confused about why her question (“How can this be…?”) was considered appropriate and Zechariah’s (“How shall I know this…?”) was considered impertinent. The answer she received amplified our understanding of God’s plan; his answer was to be struck dumb. The way to look at this encounter, I’ve learned in the writings of Jacob of Serug, is not to compare Mary with her cousin, but to compare Mary with Eve. When Eve was approached by an angel, she asked no questions. Alas, she simply took him at face value and acted on his suggestion. Mary, who had to know about the previous ruinous encounter, exercised prudence before accepting the message. Not only did Mary’s prudence spare her from a possibly disastrous choice, but the answer she elicited from the angel has since been foundational to our faith. She pondered the message in her heart, kept the information in her mind over the coming decades, and meditated on how those events related to the promises of God. When the time was right, she shared what was... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at feminine-genius
I'll be I was on bright and early Wednesday morning (6am Central, 7am Eastern) talking about Lent with Sean Herriott. Here's the link for those who missed it. Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2014 at feminine-genius
Others have done well, taking on the sleazy culture that accomodates (and praises) part-time p*rn jobs to pay college bills, and Sister Theresa Noble has an interesting take: The media reaction to this young woman's activity has been at turns laudatory, critical, and patronizing. But what has been most interesting to me is the lack of interest or criticism for the young man who “outed” her. In fact, the male student’s full name was used in the earliest articles that can be found on the subject without the slightest concern for his well being or future ability to land a job, (something people are concerned about in respect to “Belle”). It seems American society has begun to accept porn watching as normal, and expected in a radical way. But most of us still draw the line at participating in porn, which very clearly reveals a hypocritical double standard. A double standard that does not only apply to young women. A young, male senior in high school was recently suspending from school for participating in an adult film in order to pay his mother’s bills. Major outlets covered the news. This incident, like Belle’s case, was discovered by fellow students. However,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2014 at feminine-genius
According to the new, trendy site, BanBossy, we oppress girls: When a little boy asserts himself, he's called a “leader.” Yet when a little girl does the same, she risks being branded “bossy.” Words like bossy send a message: don't raise your hand or speak up. By middle school, girls are less interested in leading than boys—a trend that continues into adulthood. Together we can encourage girls to lead. Statistics at almost every graduate school in the country show more women than men in their programs, so I'm not sure how oppressed girls are in most schools. From my school days (yes, rather hazy) girls who were smart were impressive -- to both boys and girls. I can remember who they were, and they were quite popular. And then there were girls who were bossy. I can remember one girl in particular from my elementary school (she got to announce the arrival of each bus after school) and we didn't like her attitude. It had nothing to do with being a leader or speaking out, it had to do with manners and how she treated the other kids. I think most in our class had the sense to understand courtesy,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2014 at feminine-genius
So thought Rachel Long, a young mother of three who didn't want more children. The Essure device could be inserted in a routine doctor visit, seemed simple, and was covered by insurance. Why not? Long’s problems began within weeks of insertion, necessitating five trips to the emergency room in just three days and costing her family thousands. “I felt like I was going to die, I felt like death,” Long said. “I had this deep, deep pain in my abdomen just two to three weeks after placement, anyone in their right mind would think this all started when this device was put into my body.” Eventually, she too had to have a full hysterectomy. At least one death has been reported in relation to the use of Essure, according to a report by ABC 2 in Baltimore. A woman went to the emergency room with abdominal pain sometime after having the device installed, and was found to have a raging infection in her reproductive tract. Her cervix, fallopian tubes and uterus had all become necrotic, dead tissue. The infection ultimately killed her. Over 5000 women have joined a Facebook group for those with unmanageable side effects, and their stories reveal... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2014 at feminine-genius
In a time when so many special needs babies are killed before birth (9 out of every 10 Down's Syndrome persons) this marvelous family should be commended for allowing the world to see what its missing by such an attitude. Alex Bilodeau as had a marvelous career thus far: Bilodeau is the son of Serge Bilodeau and Sylvie Michaud. His older brother, Frédéric, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age and told that he would be unable to walk by the time he was 12. Frédéric is now age 28 and still has the ability to walk. He also has a younger sister, Béatrice. Bilodeau says that his heroes are his brother Frédéric and Canadian freestyle skier Jean-Luc Brassard. In his free time, he enjoys skiing and playing the piano. Bilodeau speaks fluent French and English. He notes firmly the impact his disabled brother has had in his life: “The motivation that he has, if he had had the chances like I did, he would have been four times Olympic champion. He’s a great inspiration, a great person and he’s going to be an inspiration for me after my career also,” the 26-year-old said. “Every little thing in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2014 at feminine-genius
The story of Saint Josephine Bakhita is a marvelous testament to the power of God's love, the power of forgiveness, and the power of love to overcome evil. She was kidnapped by slave traders when she was a small child, beaten and scarred, treated as a near-worthless object—but she persevered until she found a new way to live. This short segment from my book explains how forgiveness fits in: It was her fifth owner, the Italian consul at Karthoum, who first showed her kindness and ultimately brought her to Europe, where she discovered Christ. While taking care of the young daughter of a family there, she was introduced to the Canossan Sisters with whom she eventually found a home as a religious sister. Fifty years of quiet consecrated life allowed her to witness to others the deep abiding peace that faith and forgiveness can bring. Seeing God’s hand even in the difficult path of her life, she noted, “If I was to meet those slave raiders that abducted me and those who tortured me, I'd kneel down to them to kiss their hands, because, if it had not been for them, I would not have become a Christian and religious... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2014 at feminine-genius
There is a meme used regularly in the HHS mandate debate concerning how many Catholic women adhere to their Church's teaching concerning contraceptives. The government's push to make Catholic institutions provide contraceptives in their health plans is based on this 2011 Guttmacher study, which claims that 98% of Catholic women contracept. It begins with this snarky and condescending tone: The debate over contraception has long been settled in real-life America. At some point in her life, virtually every woman in the United States uses at least one contraceptive method. Likewise, contraceptive services are recognized by government bodies, professional health care organizations and a wide range of other experts as a vital component of preventive and public health care. Even so—and despite the strong body of evidence demonstrating that contraceptive use and the prevention of unintended pregnancy improves the health and social and economic well-being of women and their families—contraception continues to be perceived as controversial among some policymakers and is opposed by the Catholic hierarchy and some other socially conservative organizations. So already we have labeled the pro-contraceptive side to be based on "real life" and health-enhancing, while suggesting that the social conservatives are warbling about a non-existent controversy from... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2014 at feminine-genius